The Supreme Court in a judgment rendered on August 10 set aside the Central Administrative Tribunal's (CAT) order holding Advocate Mehmood Pracha guilty of contempt of Court.

The Bench of Justice KM Joseph and Justice Hrishikesh Roy observed that no trial was conducted by the CAT and allowed Pracha's appeal.

Mehmood Pracha was charged with contempt of Court by the Tribunal however was left with a warning. The CAT had also ordered that its order must also be forwarded to the Bar Council of India and Delhi State Bar Council for disciplinary action.

The Court also held that the Tribunal should have held that trial when there was a denial of the charge.

Advocate Mehmood Pracha appeared in person while ASG Vikramjeet Banerjee appeared as amicus curiae before the Court.

"The appellant denied charges. What is more, he specifically staked the claim to have a trial conducted on the charge framed against him. No trial at all was conducted. In other words, no evidence was taken," the Bench held.

The Bench further also noted that the powers available to the Apex Court under Article 129 and Article 142 of the Constitution are not available to the Tribunal.

The Court also added, "We would think that in the facts of this case, denial of a right of trial which is contemplated also under Section 14(1)(c) of the Act as also Rule 15 of the Rules has resulted in miscarriage of justice."

"The upshot of the above discussion is that the appellant must succeed. We are allowing this appeal only on the ground that the procedure under the Act and in the Rules which related to adducing of evidence when there is a denial of the charge, was not followed. We would undoubtedly have had no reservation in upholding the order if there was evidence to support the charge as framed against the appellant. Subject to these observations, the appeal is allowed. Impugned order is set aside. Needless to say the direction to forward the case to the Bar Council of India will also perish. The impugned order will stand set aside," the Court held.

Earlier the CAT's principal bench had taken suo moto cognizance in a case in which Mehmood Pracha was arguing. The Tribunal had found Parcha guilty of contempt of Court under Section 14 of the Contempt of Courts Act.

Cause Title - Mehmood Pracha v. Central Administrative Tribunal

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